Tags: , | Posted by Admin on 11/26/2008 10:52 AM | Comments (1)

What’s the best way to drive traffic to your blog these days? … Write an entry about your Google job interview. Recently I’ve found yet another one of those. This one is actually well written and quite interesting, so go read it first. Today, I wanted to focus on another issue, though — if you read comments for this article on Reddit, 90% of them seem to be from people complaining about the number of interviews he had to take. This is counterintuitive. You do NOT want to work for company that hires people after 30 minute chat, simply because there’ll be lots of bad apples there. Google’s process may seem long, but it’s not that bad actually (first you have phone interviews which take maybe 40-50 minutes max, then there’s an on-site visit, which takes one day and consists of several interviews).

(Sidenote: This is a first-hand experience, actually, I wasted my chance to pimp this blog and didn’t write a detailed report, but I had Google interviews as well some years ago… 2 days after the third one, I got hit by a car, self preservation instinct says I shouldn’t apply again).

Why is Google’s process so careful? Because they can. I’d love to have possibility of performing recruitment in similar fashion, but it just doesn’t seem possible in gamedev, not to this extent at least. Companies struggle to get experienced folks as it is. After 50 talks with people, who rate their C++ knowledge at 9, then fail to solve the most basic tasks, someone who actually coded a game before is a Godsend. Dragging him through 8 interviews and risking he’ll go somewhere else doesn’t sound smart. It’s my experience only, but it seems like interviews in mainstream companies are 2 leagues above anything you can encounter in gamedev. Google’s interview is hard, but also interesting and challenging, definitelly something different than the usual: “what have you done before? Oh, nice… Mmm, oh, right, what’s 101011 in decimal? Good. When can you start?”. Beggars cant be choosers. If you’ve more candidates than you can shake your stick at — it’s your right to be extra picky (see old Steve Yegge’s essay how it works for Google [yeah, again]). It mostly boils down to one simple factor: how many people want to work for your company and see it as a privilege, some kind of industry Holy Grail. There are probably GD companies in this kind of luxury situation, but it’s very rare. Ironically, in certain aspects, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re picky about your candidates and only employ the best of the best, word will get around and smart people will treat your company as some kind of a “benchmark” (”they only get super smart folks, so if I get there, I’m super smart as well”). Just having an interview, even when you’re not hired (well, especially if you’re not hired, it seems) will become something that’s worth writing a report about. Sure, it will take time and sacrifices, but may pay off in a long term.

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Comments (1) -

Kendrick on 11/26/2008 10:34 AM Just as a sidenote: Did you ever come across this irrational hatred towards Google by some people who think its fashionable to hate big corporations that are leaders in their markets? (”day without Google” and so on)
I think that to make other people hate Google as well, they should publish a photo of some of Google’s nerds (sory - engineers), with their overweight and glasses and bad haircuts, eating Google’s free food and playing the damn volleyball or guitar hero or whatever in luxurious offices. And this should come with a footnote: “Do you want to pay for this?”.

After reading about this 8-step interview that you linked I’m quite sure that this company is a victim of it’s own success. It’s not a sign of how good Google is as a company - rather a sign of wasting resources and inability to make decisions, that passes unnoticed as long as the money keeps flowing in. Becuase even if they do hire really smart people, this “hire everybody who is smart enough” thing is still a crap of a business strategy.
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